Dakar 2024: Ricky Brabec makes the move up to second on stage one of the Dakar Rally

Dakar 2024: Ricky Brabec makes the move up to second on stage one of the Dakar Rally

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The Dakar Rally throws up surprises everyday and with it come both the highs and the lows as the Monster Energy Honda Team found out on the first proper stage of this 46th edition.

The opening kilometres continued where the prologue left off with a mix of rocks and sandy terrain around the canyons. Ricky Brabec was on a mission spending most of the stage amongst the front runners as he looked to move up the overall ranking, the 2020 winner using his experience to take a well deserved second place at the end of the day.

Contending with a mixture of dry river crossings, gravel tracks and rocks, the 414 km special was ridden around an exhilarating environment of old volcanos and lava slabs as riders made their way from AlUla to the next bivouac at Al Henakiyah.

It was a positive day for fourth placed Jose Ignacio Cornejo, despite it not being his favoured terrain he would keep up a relentless pace to be at the sharp end with fellow Chilean Pablo Quintanilla also swapping places at the top. Towards the latter end of the day’s action Quintanilla would drop down to ninth, difficulty in navigation causing him to lose over twenty minutes to stage winner Ross Branch.

Undertaking an intensive training programme coming into this year’s edition, Adrien Van Beveren finished behind Quintanilla in tenth maintaining a cautious pace in the stoney areas to make sure he got to the finish without issue.

After the disappointment of yesterday’s prologue for Skyler Howes, things didn’t fare much better today for the American. The task of setting off near the front with clear track ahead only added to another difficult day, which saw him ultimately finish nearly forty minutes back in sixteenth place.

He took his maiden stage win on the prologue but it was heartbreak for overall favourite Tosha Schareina who was forced to abandon 240 km into today’s special, a surprisingly slow crash ending his chances. Dubbed as one to watch on this rally he was airlifted from the route with a broken wrist.

In the overall standings, Ricky Brabec has now gone up to second, twelve minutes adrift of leader Ross Branch, while José Ignacio Cornejo is on the move too from thirteenth to fourth. Pablo Quintanilla and Adrien Van Beveren have just a few seconds between them in ninth and tenth, while Skyler Howes will be looking for better fortune over the next few days as he climbs up from seventeenth.

Riders will be resting up at Al Henakiyah, recharging before the third day of rallying where there’ll be even more mileage on the cards for stage two. Riders will rack up a total of 655 km as they’ll be put through their paces on a 463 km special with an increased road section making up the numbers. The dune surfers will enjoy 30 km of sand mixed with long, fast stretches from Al Henakiyah to Al Duwadimi. This is only just the beginning of what the next longer stages will bring as it’ll be a proper test of man and machine in the Saudi Arabian heat.

Ruben Faria - General Manager: "Today was the first stage of the 2024 Dakar Rally and it was a really difficult one for everybody. Ricky, Nacho and Pablo did a good job though, Adrien lost a little bit more time due to a stone affecting the rear brake and Skyler had issues at the start as he got lost in one valley.
But the biggest damage we have had is that we've lost Tosha due to a crash 240 km into the stage.
He was riding quite well with a good rhythm and in the technical part he was relaxed. He caught Joan Barreda but relaxed a little too much and he took a stone to the rear wheel which caused his crash. He's got problems with his wrist and not surprisingly isn’t happy that his Dakar has ended early. But this is the Dakar Rally; it’s a tough adventure."

Pablo Quintanilla 7 - STAGE: 9TH OVERALL: 9TH: "There have been some very inconspicuous and quite dangerous roads on this stage with quite difficult navigation. What I thought would be the most difficult part of the day was quite positive and we finished the day without major problems. I am very sorry about Tosha because he is a great rider who has been doing an extraordinary job and I have no doubt that he will continue to do so."

Ricky Brabec 9 - STAGE: 2ND OVERALL: 2ND: "You couldn’t even count the amount of rocks out there and when you’re trying to dodge them and read your notes it’s tough. You don’t want to crash on the rocks, you don’t want to miss a note so it’s finding that balance. Definitely the navigation was hard today and so was the riding. The plan for tomorrow is just to make it to the next bivouac without making any big mistakes."

Skyler Howes 10 - STAGE: 16TH OVERALL: 17TH: "It was quite a long and really hard stage with a lot of rocks. It's difficult after yesterday's stage, but little by little I have to gain confidence on the bike and make up time in the following days."

José Ignacio “Nacho” Cornejo 11 - STAGE: 4TH OVERALL: 4TH : "I felt very good during the stage one that I think we haven’t seen before on the Dakar. There were many kilometres of stones on the route and if you went off the track there were even more of them. Even though it doesn’t necessarily suit my riding style I felt quite confident riding most of the stage with Ricky."

Adrien Van Beveren 42 - STAGE: 10TH OVERALL: 10TH : " It was a really tough stage, not fun at all with a lot of loose stones. There’s one thing to ride in the stones but when they’re unpredictable you’re just expecting to fly off the bike. It’s part of the Dakar though and we just have to manage to get to the end of each day. Despite this I didn’t lose too much time today so I’m still in the game ready to go again tomorrow."

Tosha Schareina 68 - STAGE: DNF : "I felt very comfortable on the bike and when I got to the refuelling I managed to catch Joan (Barreda). I think that confidence led me to relax and that's why I crashed. I'm fine though morally hurt because I was feeling very good after the last few rallies. The medical report shows I have broken my wrist but I am more affected emotionally by the crash."

Source: Monster Energy Honda Team

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